A body discovered Monday morning at Lake Piru has been identified as the former Glee actress Naya Rivera, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said during a news conference yesterday.
Her body was found floating in the northeast area of the lake where the water is between 35 and 60 feet deep Monday, after a six-day search. Ayub said investigators are “confident” the body found was the 33-year-old actress, but the body is still being taken to Ventura County Coroner’s Office, where it will be identified through dental records.
Rivera, who played Santana Lopez on the groundbreaking series and also had roles in Devious Maids and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, was reported missing after her 4-year-old son was found alone on the pontoon she rented during an afternoon outing.
The following day, authorities stated the actress was presumed dead and revealed they shifted her search to a “recovery mission.” Since news broke about Rivera’s disappearance, law enforcement has used “many resources” to find the 33-year-old star.
Speaking to E! News’ Holly Passalaqua and Alyssa Morin, Capt. Eric Buschow shared more insight into the Glee star’s investigation, including how Rivera’s son has helped the case, what law enforcement believes occurred and more.
“We are confident, based on the circumstances, she was not a victim of foul play. There is no indication of this being an abduction or a homicide,” Buschow analyzed. “There is also nothing to indicate it was a suicide either.”
Buschow said he hopes an autopsy will provide some answers. “At the point that she’s found… depending on what the autopsy results are, that may provide some clarity as to what took place,” he said. “But it appears that this was just a tragic accident.”
What law enforcement does know, according to Buschow, is that Rivera “went north on the lake.”
“She never went to the south-side of the lake. We know that from surveillance cameras…,” he explained. “The boat never came back to the south, so the focus of the search has been to the north and to the north-east side of the lake.”
He also explained that the boat Rivera rented, which her son was found alone on, was “discovered to the north side of the lake.”
Buschow also expressed the ways her devoted fans can help.
“The best thing [her fans] can do is just keep the family in their thoughts. If you know them, reach out to them, support them, this is an incredibly difficult time for them as you can imagine,” he expressed.
He knows many are wanting to go out to the lake, but he doesn’t recommend it.
“First of all, the lake is closed to the public. With the heat and with the conditions, as soon as they drive up there, they’ll realize that this is not for people who are untrained and unfamiliar with the area. I would not recommend it,” he asserted.
‘Glee’ cast share their thoughts
Jane Lynch, Amber Riley, Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Kevin McHale, Harry Shum Jr, Jenna Ushkowitz, Max Adler, Kristin Chenoweth, Melissa Benoist, Alex Newell, Samantha Ware, Mike O’Malley, Becca Tobin, Lauren Potter, Ivonne Coll, Damian McGinty and Glee guest star Demi Lovato – who played Santana’s one-time love interest – were among those to express their heartbreak on social media.
Lea Michele also posted pictures of both Naya and her late boyfriend Cory Monteith, on the seventh anniversary of his death, to her Instagram Story.
Below are other tributes:
Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk announce scholarship for Rivera’s son
Glee creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan have announced they are setting up a college fund for Naya Rivera’s four-year-old son Josey following the actress’ death at age 33.
‘We are heartbroken over the loss of our friend Naya Rivera … Our hearts go out to her family, especially her mom, Yolanda, who was a big part of the Glee family and her son Josey. The three of us are currently in the process of creating a college fund for the beautiful son Naya loved most of all.’
Rivera was also on the CBS sitcom The Royal Family and in the comedy film The Master of Disguise. More recently, she starred in the “Step Up” television series, based on the movie franchise.
Reel 360 sends our thoughts and prayers to Naya’s son and family during this heartbreaking time.
E! News contributed to this article.